The coronavirus pandemic has taken us out of offices and into our homes, had us partying on zoom, and of course, brought us Tiger King. While companies still recognize the great value in in-person events, there's been a definitive shift towards virtual and hybrid events as a solution to social distancing initiatives. A recent survey found that 72% of sponsors would be interested in hybrid events that combine in-presence and digital elements . What's perhaps even more interesting about this survey is that respondents answered rapidly and in large numbers. This suggests that this is a hot topic in the industry, and companies are committed to bringing highly engaging events with a high ROI back into the picture, just with a shift towards hybrid and virtual.
The Advantages of Hybrid Events For Boosting ROI
With elements of both virtual and live events, Hybrid events are the perfect mix between the two. You get all the benefits of a live and highly engaged audience, with the added benefits of extended reach and capacity, among other benefits.
● Increased reach - They allow you to reach a wider audience that otherwise wouldn't attend the event. A common misconception about hybrid events is that they split the audience (that people who would usually participate in-person decide instead to tune in online). This is false.
● Increased engagement - By incorporating virtual elements, your online audience can share, comment, and like content more freely. The more engaged an audience is, the more likely they will become leads and eventually buy the product. High engagement levels are paramount to excellent ROI.
● Decreased environment impact - People today are increasingly concerned about travel and single-use waste associated with big live events. A hybrid event is an attractive option for environmentally conscious people who want to reduce their impact on the environment.
How to Increase Sponsor Engagement
Hybrid events involve much more than passively live-streaming an event. Increasing sponsor engagement is all in the details. It starts with the virtual event platform you pick, but the decisions you make when designing your event are just as critical. The key is to be creative and build engagement-boosting elements into each touchpoint. Here are some top tips:
- Virtual Booths - If you have exhibitor booths at your in-person events, you can switch to branded virtual booths at your online or hybrid event. Booths are great for boosting engagement because they allow exhibitors to showcase their hot products and drive more leads.
- Run Demos - You can run demos for your sponsor's pre-event. This has two functions; it allows sponsors to be better prepared for the real thing and convert more sales.
- Be creative - You can come up with creative suggestions for your sponsors to help boost engagement. For example, if they run an Agriculture technology business, you can suggest that they live stream from a farm.
- Pre-schedule or pre-curate leads for your sponsor or exhibitor to meet on the event day.
- Going live - Going live is the key to success. It would help if you encouraged your sponsors or exhibitors to go live as much as possible during the event. The more active and energized they are about the event, the more participants will feed off this. The more content your sponsors and exhibitors create, the more leads and engagement they will get.
- Curate a list of 3rd party agencies or vendors that your sponsors and exhibitors could hire to deliver better content and experiences at your event. Content is king, so it needs to be in good hands.